Chesterton Tribune



Frontline gets variances to reface former pole sign; Cocos Amstar heard September 26

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Frontline Foundations Inc. just invested $50,000 to remodel a former veterinary clinic as its permanent home, and now the substance-abuse recovery program hopes to rehabilitate a 1,600 square-foot storage building on the site as an art center for recovery therapy.

Thereís even a fundraiser planned Sept. 28 to raise money for the project.

Good things are happening at Frontlineís new 1008 Broadway home, attorney Greg Babcock told the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals, but the building sits 60 feet off the roadway obscurbed by two larger buildings --- Electro Seal and The Factory --- on either side.

Meeting Thursday, the BZA voted 4-0 with member Jim Kowalski absent to grant the five variances from town code needed for Frontline to begin using an existing 23 foot-tall freestanding sign on the property located closer to Broadway making it easier to find the new location.

During a required public hearing, no one commented either for or against the zoning petition brought by Jonathan Hicks as property owner.

The variances granted deal with permission to reface the existing two-sided sign, which is 5 feet taller and takes up more gross square footage than is allowed, and to keep it although itís less than 200 feet from another freestanding sign.

The top portion of the sign is illuminated and the lower portion a manual reader board so messages can be changed to feature Frontlineís different focuses and programs, said executive director Amber Hensell Hicks.

She explained the non-profit center opened in 2007 and serves approximately 160 clients a year ages 18-28. Frontlineís eight employees, four of them counselors, donít turn anyone away because of inability to pay, and walk-ins are welcome, assured Hensell Hicks.

She said itís not easy to do what Frontline does, but ďthe need is great obviously for substance-abuse (counseling).Ē

Having acquired the 1008 Broadway building from 1st Source Bank, Jonathan Hicks said Frontline realized its goal to give the center a permanent home so it can control its future for decades to come. The recovery program previously rented space on Wabash Avenue.

In separate action after two preliminary hearings Thursday, both petitions advanced to public hearing Sept. 26.

In the case of CoCoís Canine Cabana, thatís contingent on representatives supplementing their application with more information by Sept. 9. The actual petitioner is 1601 S. Calumet Rd. property owner Wilbert Hamstra Inc.

CoCoís owner Kathy Defries wants to reface and use the blank freestanding sign there to promote the new dog-grooming business. Interim building commissioner Mike Orlich asked Defries to meet with him about the zoning application. BZA members indicated they want to know the size and location of existing signs on the property, which also houses Kathyís Antiques, as well as whatís proposed.

The second public hearing set next month is for RMK of Indiana LLC, which was represented Thursday by Michael Schimpf.

The convenience/fueling station at 860 Broadway recently was rebranded from Mobil to Amstar and requires two variances: to allow installation of three signs with a total square footage of 87 feet, and to allow two signs to be installed on the existing canopy when only one is allowed. Some canopy-sign letters would be illuminated.


Posted 8/23/2013